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What Do We Mean By Sustainable?

The more consumers demand sustainable practices from brands, and pay with their wallets through sustainable products, the more we can change the consumer world for the better. We’re taking a look into sustainable practises, and what the word “sustainability” actually means.
What Do We Mean By Sustainable?

by K T Wallace

Sustainability is a movement that has gained popularity in recent years as we understand more about our effect on the planet. We know that the ways we shop and what we buy have an impact on the planet.  We’re taking a look into sustainable practices, and what the word “sustainability” actually means. 

What is Sustainability? 

Sustainability means to be able to be ‘maintained at a certain rate or level’. It comes from the idea of keeping things at a constant amount. 

When this refers to products or resources being used, it means they must be used in a way that means they can be remade or replenished at the same or faster rate than they are being used. So, for example, the eucalyptus that is used in materials like lyocell or other wood fibre fabrics, needs to regrow quicker than the rate at which the eucalyptus is harvested. 

As sustainability becomes more important to consumers, brands are looking to switch their practices to align with sustainable ideals. How can brands adapt their processes to a more sustainable model?

what is sustainability and how can brands get involved?

How Can Consumers Be More Sustainable?

For consumers, the answer is fairly simple: consider the sustainability of what you are buying. Whether that means which products you buy and the materials they are made from, or which brands you are shopping with. Choosing more sustainable brands can help to increase the demand for sustainable products like eco-friendly bathroom essentials

Choosing to practise a more sustainable lifestyle can also help. That could be reusing bags at the supermarket, making food at home instead of buying a meal deal, or using a reusable coffee cup at your favourite coffee shop. 

Movements like Plastic Free July, an eco-friendly initiative which encourages people to forgo single-use plastic for the month of July, are helping paint the roadmap to a more sustainable consumer. Of course, it isn’t just down to consumers, brands can also help in the journey towards sustainability.

how can we be more sustainable?

How Can Brands Be More Sustainable?

In a more broad sense, sustainability refers to the impact a brand can have on the world as a whole. Sustainability in a company generally refers to two main categories:

  • The business’s effect on the environment
  • The business’s effect on society

The goal of a sustainable business would be to not only minimise the negative impact on the planet and society, but to actually have a positive impact. Brands can improve their sustainability through multiple ways:

  • Choice of materials they use in their products and manufacturing 
  • Altering manufacturing and supply chain practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Using renewable energy resources to power their processes
  • Supporting local community projects  
  • Being part of environmentally-conscious groups (e.g. B-Corp

Sustainable Brands

Brands are doing what they can to increase how sustainable their practices are. Whether that’s through materials they use, supply chains, and community projects. We’ve been looking into sustainable brands and what they can do to help the planet. Here are a few of the brands paving the way to a more sustainable future.

Sustainable sneaker brand, Ethletic make sneakers from vegan materials, with a Fairtrade stamp of approval, and the option for shoppers to send a tip straight to seamstresses in Pakistan. Another sneaker brand, 8000 Kicks use eco-friendly materials, such as hemp, to make sneakers without having a negative impact on the planet.

brands use hemp to make sustainable materials

Eco-friendly phone case brands, like Pela Case, use biodegradable materials to contribute sustainable products, including eco-friendly AirPods cases, to the world. Once you have finished with your phone case, you can simply compost it. This way, no plastic products end up in landfill. They are also a B-Corp, meaning they stick to strict guidelines regarding their environmental and social impact.

eco phone cases made from wheat are sustainable and biodegradable

Ethical coffee companies like Union Hand-Roasted Coffee work alongside their farmers to ensure a fair and sustainable process to their coffee production for both the people involved and the environment. Their packaging is made from recycled, FSC-certified materials. They encourage their employees to cycle to work to reduce CO2 emissions, and they’ve invested in a single Loring roaster to reduce the energy needed to make their different types of coffee

ethical coffee companies are aiming for sustainability

Noughty are a vegan hair care brand that focus on sustainability and cruelty-free practices. They were the first natural hair care brand to be awarded the Leaping Bunny Certification by Cruelty Free International. They make their packaging from sugar cane and employ local farmers in Brazil. 

choose vegan haircare to be more sustainable

Vegan skincare brand, BYBI, believe that sustainable, vegan products should be the only beauty standard we expect. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and natural ingredients, their skincare doesn’t compromise on sustainability. 

is vegan skincare helping us be more sustainable?

Sustainable fashion is making strides towards a better planet. Brands like Kotn and People Tree use organic cotton, certified by organisations like the Better Cotton Initiative, in their garments. Both brands also donate to environmental organisations and work towards community goals. 

is the better cotton initiative our way to sustainable clothing?

These brands choose different aspects of sustainability to help reduce their impact on the planet. Each brand makes a small difference to protect the environment for the future.

Sustainability For The Future

There are many ways brands can contribute to the sustainable movement. Whether through slow fashion initiatives, responsible sourcing of materials, or being part of wider organisations, brands are making a change to preserve the planet for future generations. The more consumers demand sustainable practices from brands, and pay with their wallets through sustainable products, the more we can change the consumer world for the better. As sustainability becomes more important to consumers, it becomes clear: sustainability is here to stay.

sustainability is on the rise & here to stay